Replacement Apps: Do 3rd Party Developers Outshine Apple?

Posted by K.C. with 7 Comments

For the most part I think Apple does a great job creating solid, simple, dependable apps for the iOS platform.

However, a few times I’ve felt the built-in apps on the iPhone/iPad leave something to be desired.

With the iOS platform boasting a portfolio of over 500,000 apps it’s not surprise that a few 3rd party developers would create competitive alternatives to Apple’s core offering.

Here are a couple that I’ve found and recommend.

1. Mail vs. Sparrow

Based on user interface alone Sparrow wins out in my book, but add in the gestures, optional integration of Facebook profile photo and Gmail features like tagging and it’s no contest. There is also a desktop app available that I use exclusively as my email client.

2. Notes vs Evernote

While the Notes app cutely resembles the familiar legal pad, Evernote is a simple yet powerful tool for capturing content (notes, photo, audio, links, etc), organizing a trip, tracking a to-do list or even drafting blog posts. The best part is it’s free and also can be downloaded as a desktop app or used via the web.

3. iBooks vs. Kindle

Now I know this one is going to ruffle some feathers, but let it be known that I use both iBooks and the Kindle app for reading. I just use them differently. I prefer iBooks for interactive books that I can read with my kids. However, I prefer Kindle for novels and business books because the highlight feature syncs out to the web so that I can access it on the computer to use in a review or a blog post inspired by the book.

Do you use any of these apps? What other replacement apps do you recommend? You can leave a comment by clicking here.


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My name is KC and I LOVE being a husband & dad. I am a Mac fanboy, tentblogger, MBA grad, cubicle dweller and frequent abuser of Twitter & Facebook.

7 responses to Replacement Apps: Do 3rd Party Developers Outshine Apple?

  1. Agreed. I use all of these 3rd party apps over the default ones except for quick note jotting, I use notes. Another: FaceTime vs Skype. FaceTime is much better (Clearer picture, better connectivity, better sound), except it’s WiFi only.

    • I’m with you on FaceTime. I only use video chat apps when on wifi because I’m cheap and I don’t really need it that often. I’m either at home or in a Starbucks so it works.

  2. I can’t use Sparrow yet due to no push and no Exchange support.

    Evernote is not part of my workflow so I don’t really use that either.

    I only use iBooks and I think the app itself is better than the Kindle app, although I do have that for my wife.

    • I have to use the default mail app for work’s exchange, but all of my other accounts work great. I’m hoping they will fix this in an update. As far as no push, it’s actually been quite freeing not getting so many junk emails separate ally throughout the day. I turned it off on my desktop as well.

    • Sparrow will get there eventually. I hope. Although the lack of push & exchange aren’t deal breakers for me.

      I find myself using Evernote less and less since I started drafting posts w/ iA Writer and saving to Dropbox.

  3. I use Evernote religiously and very seldom open up the Notes app. I have no problem with the native mail app.

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